SAN JOSE, CA—Archer Aviation Inc. has opened a high-volume battery pack manufacturing line here. It will have the throughput necessary to support planned ramp up at the company’s air taxi assembly plant in Covington, GA, that remains on track to be completed later this year.

The “automotive style” line that is designed for high-volume production from day one, with the final phase of the facility set to be capable of producing up to 15,000 battery packs per year. Archer has applied automation in key areas of the battery pack manufacturing process to improve quality, operator safety and data traceability. This includes cell test and load, adhesive dispensing, laser cleaning, laser welding and end-of-line testing.

“This is a major milestone for [us], as designing, developing and mass-producing electric propulsion systems that are purpose-built for electric aircraft is the key to unlocking the electrification of aviation” says Tom Muniz, chief technology officer at Archer. “The facility will give us the capability to scale our battery pack production to meet the demands of the output that our Georgia facility will be capable of.”

According to Muniz, the start-up company chose to vertically integrate battery pack manufacturing to ensure it meets rigorous levels of safety, performance and reliability. Archer’s battery pack, which uses cylindrical cell, features a proprietary and robust thermal runaway containment strategy.

The packs recently successfully completed multiple drop tests as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Type Certification program to validate the safety and durability of the proprietary design.

Archer’s goal is to transform urban travel, replacing 60-to-90-minute commutes by car with 10-to-20-minute electric air taxi flights that are safe, sustainable, quiet and cost-competitive with ground transportation. Midnight is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft designed to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time between flights.

United Airlines will be one of Archer’s first customers, with a route between O’Hare International Airport and downtown Chicago.